Good morning! Here’s what’s happening this Thursday morning…
1. The Qantas horror show. Massive write-downs have contributed to an eye-watering $2.8 billion statutory loss for Australia’s national airline in its results announced this morning. The underlying loss of $646 million was a big beat on the market’s expectation of $750 million. Profit at the domestic arm was shredded to just $30 million in EBIT, compared to $365 million the year before. The group confirmed a decision to keep its frequent flyer program, Qantas Loyalty, in-house. With half of the 5,000 redundancies now in place and a rapid return to profitability expected, CEO Alan Joyce says the “worst is behind us”. Not to put too fine a point on it, but it had better be.
2. Markets did nothing in the US session with the major bourses all almost dead flat in the absence of major data. The big talking point in global markets though is the continuing bond rally which is pushing global rates to record lows.
3. A five-year low for the iron ore price could make for a different story on the Australian market today. Smaller miners will be the ones to watch. Futures were 19 points lower ahead of the start of trade. There’s also capex data out from the ABS at 11.30am AEST with the market expecting a fall of 0.9% for Q2.
4. ISIS is not just murderous, it’s also very rich. The terrorist group which has taken over large parts of Iraq and Syria pulls in millions of dollars a day from illegal oil sales, as well as around $US12 million a month from extortion. Australia is now in the box seat to contribute to a widened US-led military campaign, probably taking the form of airstrikes, in Iraq and Syria.
5. The number of Australians fighting for ISIS are well up the list of Western additions to the terrorist group. Leading the pack on a per capita basis is Belgium, which supplies 250 fighters from its 11 million population. Australia’s count is at 200 but France is well beyond everyone, contributing 700.
6. Jessica Alba’s startup is valued at a billion dollars. Her company makes eco-friendly baby products, and 80% of the revenue comes from customers who get monthly deliveries of nappies. It’s just received series C funding of $US70 million from a group of VC companies. It’s expected to do $US150 million in revenue this year, triple what it did last year, and there are some tentative moves for an IPO.
7. Redfoo got glassed at a Sydney pub. You might know him as an X-Factor judge or as one half of LMFAO, the duo behind “I’m Sexy and I Know It”. But you certainly can’t miss him, with his crazy hair and bright specs. And one idiot at Sydney pub the Golden Sheaf didn’t either, sadly, with a glass thrown at Redfoo’s head. Reports say it was unprovoked and the Foo left bleeding from the head.
8. The best esky, ever. Only you can’t call it an Esky, because that’s an brand name. In America, it’s known as a cooler, and this one posted as a Kickstarter project just became the new No 1 crowdfunded project. The Coolest Cooler has a couple of days to go and just hit $10,783,262. It’s makers only asked for $50,000, but fans seem to like the integrated blender, Bluetooth speaker, LED lighting and USB charger, among other features.
9. CEOs treating animals badly. Remember that scene in The Social Network where Mark Zuckerberg chastises Eduardo Saverin for getting bad headlines about feeding chicken to a chicken? Because CEOs don’t do that. Except the CEO of sports-catering company Centerplate, Des Hague, did, kicking a friend’s dog repeatedly and having it all caught on an elevator camera. His company fined him $100,000, Hague apologised for his “emotional response” and is now working through 1000 hours of community service.
10. Look out, real estate agents. The industry is ripe for disruption because of its current pricing models for advertising and the fees that agents charge to vendors. A range of startups are now in the space and some significant investors are looking for opportunities. Alex Heber has the details.
Bonus item: This has to be the worst prank, ever. It’s called “swatting” – i.e. calling a SWAT team in on your victim – and this guy playing Counterstrike handles it exceptionally well. Because SWAT teams take their job very, very seriously.
Have a great Thursday. I’m on Twitter: @colgo
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